Seaward's Menorca represents a new and interesting concept, combining the excellent seakeeping of the slower semi-displacement form with the archetypal, large Mediterranean-style cockpit.
Seaward’s Menorca represents a new and interesting concept, combining the excellent seakeeping of the slower semi-displacement form with the archetypal, large Mediterranean-style cockpit. Potentially, it has huge appeal for those who enjoy the sunshine, but are content to travel more slowly than their 30-plus-knot planing counterparts. There will always be buyers who instinctively react against the sleek, sophisticated style of, for instance, a Sunseeker, and only feel comfortable with boats of a more traditional appearance, irrespective of the Speed they travel. So, in principle, Seaward’s idea is sound.
However, Seaward’s inaugural attempt needs re-examining. Most importantly, the boat is inordinately wet, even in moderate conditions. Unless you have been scuba diving recently, you are unlikely to comprehend just how wet. Fortunately there is a simple solution. We recently tested the Hinkley Picnic boat (MBY September 1997), which uses an open-backed hardtop (wheelhouse) to great effect, and Seaward could similarly employ their standard wheelhouse, as they have done in the past. It would immediately solve the problem of inadequate visibility, allow improved sidedeck handholds, and also provide a permanent place to shelter from the sun and rain. Of course, the alternative would be to enlarge the fixed front screens, install windscreen wipers, and fit a smaller folding canopy, but we feel that the fixed wheelhouse version would be considerably more effective.
Other considerations centre around detail and quality variations. Some details are inexcusable at any price – for instance, the lack of drains in many areas. Others depend largely on your expectations of quality and specification in relation to cost. With the 100hp engines and teak decks, the Seaward costs just over £75,000 inc VAT. If you find the exposed edges of the glassfibre mouldings in the heads an acceptable sight, and you don’t expect a log, echo-sounder or spring cleats, then the Seaward will not disappoint. However, although the 30-knot, £78,000 Fairline Targa 29, for example, is unlikely to be on the same shopping list as the 22-knot Seaward 25, it is probable that this, or something similar, will be used as a reference point for expectations of quality and value for money.
We believe that the concept is likely to have broad appeal, and the detail and quality variations could be easily addressed. Despite our reservations, we think that Seaward have a potential winner on their hands.
Length overall 27ft 1in 8.26m
Hull length 25ft 5in 7.75m